Throughout history there have been many philosophers that impacted the world. Philosophers such as John Locke have shaped today’s society in a number of ways. John Locke was extremely influential and has had some of the most lasting impacts on the ideas still to this day. John Locke has inspired a many of people throughout his lifetime and shaped the way for philosophers and great minds of the generations to come. John Locke was an English philosopher, born on August 29 1632, in Somerset, England.
He was born into a Protestant family (Faiella 24). Locke’s mother died when he was an infant and he was raised by his father John, who is said to have had an influence on Locke’s views (24). In 1652, Locke attended Christ Church College to study medicine (25).
However, Locke found the ideals and theories of modern philosophers of his time more interesting than the material he studied while at Christ Church, which led to Locke never pursuing a career as a doctor (25). Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper sought out Locke’s assistance to treat a liver cyst; Cooper soon became impressed with Locke and appointed Locke to be his advisor (28). Locke then joined the Royal.
Society where he met individuals with whom he discussed mortality and religion, which resulted in the creation of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Powell, Jim Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty, and Property). Locke wanted to learn more and pursued a position in which he could examine toleration, education and trade, leading to Locke and Anthony Ashley Cooper working closely together (Powell, Jim John Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty, and Property). Anthony Cooper was the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, and it was in the Shaftesbury household where some of Locke’s most influential ideas came alive.
Cooper assisted in forming Locke’s ideas; it was within the Shaftesbury household during 1671 that the meeting, which resulted in the making of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, took place (25). Locke’s friendship with Cooper became complicated, causing Locke to move to Holland where he became connected with the English Rebels (Faiella 29). Eventually, Locke was placed on a list of 85 traitors who were wanted by the English government as a result of his works (29). During 1683, Locke used an alias, Dr. Van Der Linden, to sign letters being sent to his peers (Powell, Jim John Locke Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property).
Locke was offered a pardon offered by William Penn but, Locke wouldn’t accept the pardon because he believed he didn’t do anything to deserve his criminal status and he stood by his beliefs (Faiella 30). In 1686 while in Holland Locke was meeting with peers to discuss philosophical ideals and plot to overthrow King James II. Locke was later removed from the list of traitors (31). After the Glorious Revolution Locke returned to England and helped draft the Toleration Act of 1689 (31).
Locke believed in many things as a philosopher, one of Locke’s most known ideals was Natural Law. Locke strongly believed in Natural Law, which stated men have natural rights which cannot be given to you by rulers (Stephens, George M. John Locke: His American and Carolinian Legacy). Locke also believed in the Social Contract, which stated that, a persons moral or political obligations should rely on an agreement in order to form a society (John Locke: His American Carolinian Legacy). Locke strongly believed that people lived in a certain State of Nature before there was society.
Locke stated that the State of Nature was when people lived with no judge, no laws and no punishment for their crimes (Treatises on Government). Locke thought that laws of society existed for the common good of the population as a whole (Treatises on Government). People could not break the social contract because it would result in chaos (Treatises on Government). Locke also believed that the government existed to assist the needs of the people and if it should not fulfill its job to the people, people had the right to overthrow the government (John Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property).
Locke believed that without a majority rule the social contract wouldn’t work (John Locke: His American and Carolinian Legacy). Therefore, Locke wrote An Essay Concerning Human Understanding which was based on his beliefs and experiences (Powell, Jim. John Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property). Locke also wrote a Letter Concerning Toleration, which discussed an idea of religious toleration for everyone except Atheists and Catholics. (John Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property).
Locke believed education is for liberty and that people learn by examples and that this is the way society should learn (John Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property). Locke also fought for freedom of the press and opposed the renewal of the act for regulation of printing (John Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property). Clearly, John Locke had a very big impact throughout the world, even though during his time he was viewed as a criminal for some of his ideas. Locke provoked revolutions in Europe, Latin America, and in Asia (Powell, Jim. John Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property).
John Locke influenced the Declaration of the Rights of Men, in 1789 while in France, which recognized property rights. (Stephens, George M. John Locke: His American and Carolinian Legacy). Locke also influenced Montesquieu’s beliefs regarding the separation of powers (Powell, Jim. John Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property). Also one of Locke’s greatest influences was his assistance in inspiring the French Revolution (John Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property). John Locke influenced the United States in a number of different ways.
For example, Locke’s Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government inspired the American Revolution (Powell, Jim. John Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty, and Property). Also, In the Declaration of Independence it states how King George violated his contract with the colonist, which was influenced by Locke’s ideas (Stephens, George M. John Locke: His American and Carolinian Legacy).
The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution discusses property rights, which was also inspired by John Locke (John Locke: His American and Carolinian Legacy). In the constitution the legislative branch has more power than a single official but has no veto power, another ideal of Locke (John Locke: His American and Carolinian Legacy).
In conclusion, John Locke inspired many people throughout history with his strong beliefs and ideals. Locke was criminalized and wanted for his beliefs. Locke’s ideas have influenced not only England or the United States of America, but have resulted in a change in the world. Locke inspired people of his time, and implemented lasting ideas and changes in the government, and Locke inspired other philosophers. Philosophers similar to Locke have used Locke’s ideas as a foundation to further mold the world we live in, and shape societies.
John Locke has made a lasting impact and his ideas will continue to impact the world. Works Cited Faiella, Graham. ”John Locke: His Life” John Locke:Champion of Modern Democracy New York: Rosen Group, 2005. 24-31. Print. Locke, John. Two Treatises on Government. 1690. Print. Powell,Jim “Jim Locke: Natural Right to Life, Liberty, and Property” The Freeman. Foundation for Economic Education. 1 August 1996. Web. 6 October 2014. Stephens, George M. “John Locke: His American and Carolinian legacy. ” John Locke Foundation. N. D. Web. 2 October 2014.
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